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Thailand raises surveillance near Moei River

Chiang Mai (mizzima) - Security officials in Thailand have beefed up surveillance on Moei River, in the wake of clashes with ethnic Karen armed men, who were trying to cross over to Thailand.

A villager from Tak province, who lives near the border, told Mizzima that Thai military personnel have raised the surveillance level along the Moei River, which is also the border between Thailand and Burma. Thai security officials increased surveillance after a Thai soldier had a minor skirmish with an ethnic armed group, who were trying to cross over to Thailand.

The skirmish took place on Saturday, as Thai military personnel in Mae Sot District of Tak province met a group of Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) soldiers, who were crossing over into Maeku Luang Village. The clash, reportedly, went on for about 10 minutes.

Following the incident, Thai officials inspected the area and found that two DKBA soldiers – a man and a woman – had bullet injuries and were later sent to the Mae Sot Hospital, while two other soldiers fled from the scene into Thailand. Officials also found a number of weapons at the spot. The Thai military are on the lookout for the other two armed men.  

The incident followed a severe attack on a DKBA boat, by unidentified armed men on the Moei River, which left 16 DKBA soldiers, including senior level officials dead.

According to a report on a Thai news website, Manager, on Sunday, Pol  Lieutenant General, Surasri Suntornsarntoon, Commander of the Sixth Royal Police Office, visited the area in Mae Sot and followed up on the investigations into the attack on the DKBA boat, in which Colonel San Pyone, Commander of DKBA’s Battalion 7 of the Brigade 999, was also killed.

Colonel San Pyone, had earlier been accused of having links with the murder of Pado Mahn Sha, former Secretary General of the Karen National Union (KNU) in Mae Sot district last year. In the event of his death, the police would withdraw the arrest warrant, against San Pyone, which had been issued by a Thai Criminal Court, it had been stated.   

However, the officials still beefed up surveillance because local villagers said that they found armed men crossing over into Thailand and fighting is still continuing in the area.

The situation near the Karen State border with Thailand this year has drawn a lot of attention from the local and international community, because several thousand local Karen villagers in Burma fled to Thailand and many of them are suffering from ill-health and malnutrition.

Currently, international non government organizations have donated more medicines for malaria patients, which is the main disease among the current batch of refugees, who took shelter in Thasongyang district of Tak province, together with respiratory diseases.

The Thailand government expected that the number of new Karen refugees was about 3,000, but local NGO workers believe that the real number is much higher and would increase due to the tension from the clashes near the Moei River.

Last Updated ( Monday, 29 June 2009 19:57 )  

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